Michael Patrick Welch reports on the growth of marching bands for My Spilt Milk's NODNA partner, The Lens.

Photo of O. Perry Walker Marching Band
Photo by Jeremy Fredericksen

Sitting still doesn’t come naturally to a lot of kids. Getting students to sit still long enough to learn is often the teachers’ hardest job. But weeks before school officially began at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology, eager students sat for hours at a time, practicing their horns under the direction of band director Charles Brooks.

In the back of the room, another line of students stood at attention, drum straps around their necks, silently waiting for their turn to play. There was no cutting up, no speaking out of turn. Whether the motive is getting to march in Mardi Gras parades, winning a music scholarship to a college otherwise out of reach, or simply because all their friends do it, New Orleans students respond to few pursuits as seriously as they do band class.

This story was published by My Spilt Milk's NODNA partner, The Lens. To read it in its entirety, go there now.